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Minneapolis residents sue city over police shortages amid violent crime wave: 'We want law and order'


Residents are taking action

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis residents, angry over the surge of violent crime in their city, have decided that enough is enough.

According to KMSP-TV, eight residents have sued the city over what they say is insufficient policing that has left residents fearing for their lives amid the violent crime wave. In fact, the lawsuit claims there are currently fewer sworn officers employed with the Minneapolis Police Department than what is required by the city charter.

More from KMSP:

The group of petitioners questioned city leaders about the number of police officers currently deployed across the city. They contend the MPD has fallen below the minimum thresholds required in the city's charter because of the number of officers who have either gone out on some type of leave or quit since the deadly Memorial Day arrest.

Minneapolis police officers found the riots following George Floyd's death on May 25 so traumatic, in fact, that as of July, about 200 officers, or 20% of the city's police force, had applied to leave the force, the New York Times reported.

And apparently, the city is not in a hurry to find replacements.

"We are here because of people's safety. We want law and order. We want reform. But we are in this city to say, enough is enough," one plaintiff, Cathy Spann, said at a news conference.

"We have made the emotional appeal," former City Council member Don Samuels said. "We have demonstrated the statistical uptick and now this is the legal action we are exercising because it seems as if the City Council cannot hear us and doesn't feel what we feel."

For its part, the city of Minneapolis said the police department currently meets staffing requirements, and have asked for the lawsuit to be thrown out.

What's the background?

The Minneapolis City Council — comprised of 12 Democrats and zero Republicans — used the Minneapolis Police Department as a scapegoat following Floyd's tragic death.

The council promised residents to abolish the police department and establish an alternative system of community policing. But they quickly learned that inflammatory rhetoric doesn't translate to functional policy.

As the crime wave began to plague residents, the city council, in the wake of their anti-police rhetoric, were left asking, "Where are the police?"

Then, just last month, City Council members that once demanded the abolition of the police department began to backtrack.

City Council member Andrew Johnson said the promise was made "in spirit," Council member Phillipe Cunningham claimed their rhetoric was "up for interpretation," and Council President Lisa Bender said, "I think our pledge created confusion in the community and in our wards," the New York Times reported.

Still, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, released next year's budget last month; it includes $14 million in police budget cuts.

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